Panorama

A Thank You to Greek Life

Today is the day… It’s the first day of my very last Formal Membership Recruitment (FMR). The past few weeks of intense preparation from my entire chapter and I have bonded me closer to my values and my sisters. While all the boys tease and poke fun at our formal process, making brackets or pretending to reveal recruitment counselors’ identities, I can’t be happier to dive head first into FMR.

Three years ago, my roommate (and now current president of my chapter) convinced me to go through recruitment with her before we even arrived on campus. I was hesitant at first, hearing my parents voices in my head berating me for joining shallow organizations full of bad influence and all that nonsense displayed on television. I didn’t have any sisters or female cousins and never got to experience sisterhood, so I finally decided to go through recruitment as well. I couldn’t be more thankful that my roommate persuaded me. We spent time stalking each chapter’s social media (which was strange considering most people did not start amping up any of their social media till recently) and running around to pre-recruitment events. Two peas in a pod, we embarked on FMR.

It’s been three years since I pledge my name and interest to my chapter and my women’s fraternity (yes, we were established before the word sorority was created). It was nothing like I expected. If you ask me about my experience in Greek life at CMU, I could tell you that I lost quite the amount of sleep due to committing myself to Greek Sing, Booth, buggy with my sisters, and helping out with recruitment and event planning. I lost sanity when problems arose, making me question why I was part of an organization at all. I lost some respect and a relationship with my parents who strongly disapproved of Greek life at first.

But instead, I’ll tell you that I never stopped being in love with it. I never stopped having faith in it.

For those of you who don’t know me as well, you wouldn’t know that the past three years have been the best but the hardest in my life. I often describe myself as someone who’s been very damaged. When people compliment me about how much they love my style, my makeup, my confidence, or whatever, I often have trouble accepting it. It’s because when I wake up in the morning and see the blank canvas of myself in the mirror, I see all the scars and battle wounds left behind from things that happened to me. I hide so many aspects of my life that some of my best friends or previous significant others don’t even know about them. Just the slightest trigger can send me into a wave of panic and cause three hour long anxiety attacks. Something I never really shared is that there was a point in time where I nearly hit rock bottom and felt worthless. So what stopped me from feeling this way?

Seeing every beautiful face of my sisterhood light up and smile when they see me.

It didn’t matter where or at what hour of the night. It didn’t matter whether they were three years older or younger. Someone was always there for me. Whether they knew what internal struggle I had or not or that I was even having any at all, they’d cuddle me on our giant Costco teddy bear and bring light into my eyes. They turned to me for comfort, advice, or help even when I felt strongly unqualified to guide them. They always made me felt wanted, needed. I can walk into the living room and sisters who I’m not even close to would pick up whether I was upset or not and drop their programming assignment to give me a big hug and tell me they’re there if I needed to talk. I can come home after a break-up to not one, not two, but SIX sisters waiting for me at 1am ready for the tears, snot, incoherent sobs.

Today is the day. It’s the first day of my very last Formal Membership Recruitment (FMR). I’ve never been happier. I’ve never been more successful and well-rounded. I’ve never been a better version of myself. My parents see the change in me. My sisters see the change in me. I see the change in me. No matter how much my chapter has changed, so much has stayed the same. With every pledge class before and after me, I never ceased to be surrounded by women who are so dedicated, strong, passionate, loving, diversely talented, loyal, genuine, and supportive. Every sorority girl goes through the phases of love and hate with their chapter, just like every chapter goes through its ups and downs in four years. Some more than others at times, but everyone struggles with varying degrees of the same problems. But that is that natural to any organization of 90+ members. Greek life has taught me how to work professionally, how to manage time and people, and how to respect differences. Greek life has taught me how to broaden my horizons. More importantly, Greek life has taught me that love is the spirit of life. And to have a spirit of life within me, I need to love myself.

I can honestly say that I barely remember my life without Greek life. It’s become so integrated into who I am. Others who don’t know I’m Greek see the values and traits my organization stands for in me. So when I graduate, I know I’ll have the spirit of Kappa Kappa Gamma with me at all times. I’ll have the love of my sisters rooted into my spine. I’ll have the most beautiful memories. I know my sisters, both Kappa and Panhellenic, will as well.

Joining a Greek community is life changing. To all my Panhellenic sisters, best of luck this weekend finding new members who will embody your values and support you through it all! I’m so excited to see who we welcome to this incredible Greek family this year. To my Kappa sisters, RAH RAH FOR KKG! And to my best friend, my freshman year roommate, my “boyfriend,” my soulmate: thank you for giving me the best gift ever and for saving me in ways you never knew.

GOOD LUCK FAM!

 

-E.

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